The importance of addressing design constraints
If you notice issues with design no matter how inconsequential, it is important to discuss changes with the design engineer; otherwise it may impact on the fabrication process. For example, if there is a mechanical component necessary in custom metal fabricating, the materials used need to complement the requirement while remaining within the design constraints. A desired spring rate may affect the function of the part and it should be addressed prior to the creation of a prototype. Determining the complete function of the part from the standpoint of design will help in defining the fabrication process. After discussing the basic function and design components, it is also important to consider the costs associated with custom metal fabricating. Production costs will vary because different factors have to be considered like tolerance, finishing and material requirements. Any changes in design will also impact on production costs because it might require re-tooling or a different cutting machine with increased tolerance.
Importance of creating a prototype in custom metal prototyping
A prototype allows design engineers and fabricators to test product design prior to production run. Any manufacturing inefficiencies can be determined so that the manufacturer will avoid costly errors during full scale production. It is easier to make changes in the prototype when necessary than making changes when the product is already in production. However, prototypes can be significantly more expensive per part to fabricate because different materials and finish may be used during its production in order to validate its design. Some prototypes are also made to be exact replicas of the fabricated part that will be used in the production run. The prototype will give you an idea on what the final product outcome will be before moving to production. If changes have to be made, you won’t be left with hundreds or thousands of bad parts.
How to reduce costs in custom metal fabricating
If consultations are made between the design engineers and fabricators in the early stages of design process, different alternatives for fabrication can be explored. For example, a new design concept can reduce the costs of materials, fabrication and assembly. It is also important to look into the capabilities of the custom metal fabricator and the availability of equipment that will cut back on both costs and time. There are fabricators with more experience in creating and testing products for any inefficiency before deciding on the most efficient way of making the part. This will ensure that an effective process of custom metal fabricating will be used. The initial costs may be significantly more expensive but high returns on investment will be realized in the long run.